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Fenny Bentley its history, people and places
The information and photographs on the following pages have been collected by Bill Richardson from public sources and many people including: David Allingham; Anne Beresford; Ted Beresford; Tony Betts; Chris Carr; David Clowes; Lallie Coates; Althea Cook; Ann Etches; Mick Finnikin; FitzHerbert School; Mrs D Frost; Joe Hambleton; Christopher Harrison; Brenda Kirkham; Elsie Leburn; Manchester Central Library; Ken Massey; Ann Naylor; June Pearson; Gilbert Naylor; Joan Webster; Rupert Wilson; Mary Winstone.
The Village of Fenny Bentley
Fenny Bentley stands some two miles north of Ashbourne, on the Buxton Road, in a pleasant valley watered by the Bentley Brook.
Dr Cameron suggests that its name evidently derives from the Old English "beonet" = bent grass, and "leah" = a clearing, with the prefix "Fenny" to distinguish it from another Bentley a little to the south of Ashbourne, Hungry Bentley, one of the "Lost Villages" of Derbyshire.
At the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086 Fenny Bentley was listed as being part of the King's lands, and an outlier of Ashbourne. (Contrary to the note in Glover's History of the County of Derby, which confuses the Domesday entry with that of Hungry Bentley). In 1297 it was listed as belonging to Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, the brother of King Edward 1, but by the reign of Henry VI, a hyounger branch of the Beresford Family who lived further up the valley of the Dove, towards Hartington, settled there, and became Lords of the Manor for many generations.
In 1821, Glover records the village as containing 49 houses, 51 families and 242 inhabitants. Of the 51 families, 42 were employed in agriculture, and eight in trade or handicraft connected with the land.
By 1987, the population was 145 adults and about 20 children, living in some 56 houses. This reflected the modern decrease in the size of the average 20th century family. Although a small estate of council houses was built in the 1960s this increase in houses was balanced by the fact that many of the old cottages have been joined together to give better accommodation, and one or two very small primitive dwellings have been demolished.
The Victorian village school, which once served the parish was replaced by a new Church Aided School in 1970 to serve the area generally.
The above, slightly updated, is taken from "The Parish of Fenny Bentley and its Church of St Edmund Kind and Martyr" by Rev Derek Buckley (1987). Copies are on sale in the Church and the booklet contains a great deal of information about the Church and the Beresford Family.
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